International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper analyzes why the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has lagged in growth and globalization. Despite attempts to spur recovery and initiate structural reforms, many countries in the region remain on a slow growth path, effectively sidelined from globalization and the benefits of closer economic integration with the rest of the world. The benefits from oil failed to generate a sustained growth dynamic or bring about greater regional economic integration. The paper highlights that the slowdown in economic reforms is a key factor for the economic depression in the MENA region.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
2017 Article IV Consultation, Second Review Under the Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility, and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Arab Republic of Egypt
The September 2011 issue of the IMF's quarterly "Research Bulletin" features a Q&A discussion about economic recovery in countries emerging after war or other open. The research summaries in this issue include: "Revisiting Capital Controls"; and "Capital Flows and Financial Stability: Monetary Policy and Macroprudential Responses." The September issue also provides details on IMF visiting scholars (mainly during the September - December 2011 period), as well as recent Working Papers and Staff Discussion Notes published by the IMF.
This paper investigates macro-financial linkages in Egypt using two complementary methods, assessing the interaction between different macroeconomic aggregates and loan portfolio quality in a multivariate framework as well as through a panel vector autoregressive method that controls for bank-level characteristics. Using a panel of banks over 1993-2010, the authors find that a positive shock to capital inflows and growth in gross domestic product improves banks’ loan portfolio quality, and that the effect is fairly similar in magnitude using the multivariate and panel vector autoregressive frameworks. In contrast, higher lending rates may lead to adverse selection problems and hence to a drop in portfolio quality. The paper also reports that a larger market share of foreign banks in the industry improves loan quality.
In this paper, we assess the macroeconomic determinants of stock market capitalization in a panel of 17 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, including both hydrocarbon-rich countries and economies without sizeable natural resource wealth. In addition to traditional variables, we include an institutional variable and remittances among the regressors. We find that (i) both institutions and remittances have a positive and significant impact on market capitalization; and (ii) both regressors matter, especially in countries without significant hydrocarbon sectors; whereas (iii) in resource-rich countries, stock market capitalization is mainly driven by the oil price.
Financial technology (fintech) is emerging as an innovative way to achieve financial inclusion and the broader objective of inclusive growth. Thus far, fintech in the MENAP and CCA remains below potential with limited impact on financial inclusion. This paper reviews the fintech landscape in the MENAP and CCA regions, identifies the constraints to the growth of fintech and its contribution to inclusive growth and considers policy options to unlock the potential.
Mr. Sami Ben Naceur, Barbara Casu, and Hichem Ben-Khedhiri
This study examines the effect of financial-sector reform on bank performance in selected Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries in the period 1994 -2008. We evaluate bank efficiency in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon and Tunisia by means of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and we employ a meta-frontier approach to calculate efficiency scores in a cross-country setting. We then employ a second-stage regression to investigate the impact of institutional, financial, and bank specific variables on bank efficiency. Overall, the analysis shows that, despite similarities in the process of financial reforms undertaken in the five MENA countries, the observed efficiency levels of banks vary substantially across markets, with Morocco consistently outperforming the rest of the region.Differences in technology seem to be crucial in explaining efficiency differences. To foster banking sector performance, policies should be aimed at giving banks incentives to improve their risk management and portfolio management techniques. Improvements in the legal system and in the regulatory and supervisory bodies would also help to reduce inefficiency.
The rapid growth of Islamic banking has attracted much attention lately in the economic literature. At the same time, a mature body of the literature has shown that financial development is broadly conducive to economic growth, which raises the question as to whether a similar conclusion holds for Islamic banking. Against this backdrop, this paper investigates the relationship between Islamic banking development and economic growth in a sample of low and middle income countries, using data over the period 1990-2010. The results show that, notwithstanding its relatively small size compared to the economy and the overall size of the financial system, Islamic banking is positively associated with economic growth even after controlling for various determinants, including the level of financial depth. The results are robust across across different specifications, sample composition and time periods.
This paper explores the linkages between external sector reforms and public enterprise restructuring, paying attention to the role of the financial sector in ensuring the success of these reforms in the context of a comprehensive medium-term structural adjustment program. It discusses the arguments made in the academic literature on this issue, and analyzes how some countries—namely Algeria, Egypt, and Poland—have tackled reforms in these areas.